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Effective Time Management Strategies for Students

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    Developing strong time management skills for students helps students complete all of their assignments while avoiding procrastination. These strategies can also help students maintain a healthy work-life balance while developing good habits that will continue to serve them in the future. 

    As you can see, there are lots of benefits of time management for students! This is why it’s important to start cultivating good habits now. So if you’re looking for Tips for 9th Graders, or are about to start your busiest year as a High School Junior, learning more about time management is sure to be a good use of your time!

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    Find organizational tools that work for you

    The best way to foster effective time management skills for students is to learn which organizational tools work for you. To start, you’ll want to have some sort of calendar. This could be a physical or a digital calendar. The important thing is to be consistent. Get in the habit of writing down important dates and deadlines, with reminders in the days and weeks leading up to them. After all, you don’t want to be surprised by a major assignment only a few days before it’s due! Or an upcoming scholarship or college application deadline. Check and update your calendar every day to avoid unwanted surprises.

    Depending on your personal preferences, you may want to use a daily planner, a large wall or desk calendar, a marker board, or an app on your phone. If you prefer digital organizational tools (or a mix of physical and digital tools), you may be interested in checking out some of the following ​​organization apps for students:

    Additionally, you’ll want to invest in other organizational tools such as folders, notebooks, binders, sticky notes, pencil boxes, etc. Be sure to organize your computer as well! Make plenty of desktop folders. Create an organizational system for your flash drive. And bookmark important websites that you often reference. Oh, and make sure you have a backpack with multiple pockets to help keep things neat and tidy! 

    Front-load your assignments for the week

    There are lots of time management strategies to focus on, but getting into the habit of front-loading your assignments for the week is one you’ll definitely want to prioritize. In other words, don’t wait until the last minute! Or save all your homework for Thursday night. 

    High schoolers and college students have busy schedules. Chances are, something will come up during the week that you weren’t planning on. Maybe it’s a last-minute assignment. Or something a bit more fun, like a party. Either way, planning to get your work done sooner rather than later can only help you in th

    Create realistic schedules and timelines

    If you’re interested in time management tips for students, chances are, you have great intentions. Maybe you’re already dreaming up your ideal morning routine. Or maybe you’ve got a stack of folders and binders on your desk, ready to be labeled. If any of this sounds familiar, congratulations! You’re definitely on the right track. After all, effective time management strategies for students require planning and commitment. That said, it’s equally important to be realistic.

    Creating realistic schedules and timelines will only help you. If you’re too ambitious and have too many tasks planned for one day, you probably won’t get to all of them. Not only will this feel discouraging, but it’ll also have a snowball effect. Suddenly your plans for today get pushed back to tomorrow and tomorrow’s plans get pushed back to the day after that. 

    The best way to avoid a scheduling catastrophe like the one described is to be realistic. In fact, do yourself a favor and schedule more time than you think you’ll need for each assignment. For example, say you have an essay due in a couple of days and are trying to finish it up tonight. Maybe you think it’ll only take you 3 hours to write. Do yourself a favor and set aside 4 hours. 

    Everyone has different scheduling needs, but if you could use some extra help, especially in regards to studying, check out our SAT study plan and schedule templates

    Keep track of how you are spending your time

    One of the many benefits of good time management is that suddenly, it feels like you have more time! While you’re not physically adding more hours to your day, it very well may feel like it. This is because practicing good time management means working more efficiently and having more free time.  

    Before you can enjoy this extra free time, though, you’ll need to put in some extra work. One of the first things you’ll need to do is to keep track of how you’re actually spending your time. Challenge yourself to be more mindful of how you spend your time this week by taking notes. Look at the clock before you start assignments and after you finish them. If you decide to take a break and watch TV, write it down. If you go to the gym or call your mom on the phone, write it down! 

    This exercise may be tedious, but keeping track of how you’re using your time will help you realize when and how you’re wasting your time. Everyone is different, but in general, social media and TV are the biggest culprits. Thankfully, there are tools that can help you with this. Like the screen time tracker on your phone!

    Remember, before you’re able to make the most of various time management skills for students, you’ll need to know how you use (and waste!) your time. 

    Keep track of how you are spending your time

    One of the many benefits of good time management is that suddenly, it feels like you have more time! While you’re not physically adding more hours to your day, it very well may feel like it. This is because practicing good time management means working more efficiently and having more free time.  

    Before you can enjoy this extra free time, though, you’ll need to put in some extra work. One of the first things you’ll need to do is to keep track of how you’re actually spending your time. Challenge yourself to be more mindful of how you spend your time this week by taking notes. Look at the clock before you start assignments and after you finish them. If you decide to take a break and watch TV, write it down. If you go to the gym or call your mom on the phone, write it down! 

    This exercise may be tedious, but keeping track of how you’re using your time will help you realize when and how you’re wasting your time. Everyone is different, but in general, social media and TV are the biggest culprits. Thankfully, there are tools that can help you with this. Like the screen time tracker on your phone!

    Remember, before you’re able to make the most of various time management skills for students, you’ll need to know how you use (and waste!) your time. 

    Set reminders for yourself

    Setting reminders is a good time management skill for students. After all, you don’t want any important dates or deadlines sneaking up on you! If you have a major assignment due in two months, do yourself a favor and jot down a couple of reminders for yourself. Maybe put a reminder the month before, two weeks before, a week before, and a couple of days before. This will help you be proactive by keeping the assignment fresh in your mind. 

    Complete simple tasks first

    One of the most popular time management tips and tricks is to complete simple tasks first. This way you can check off a couple of items on your to-do list right away. Not only will this help you feel more productive and gain positive momentum, but it’ll also help you declutter your desk — and mind. Then you won’t have to keep track of as many tasks.

    Group similar tasks together

    Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking doesn’t actually save you much time. In fact, oftentimes, it actually takes more time. This is because your attention is split and you aren’t able to focus as well as if you were doing one thing at a time. That being said, grouping similar tasks together and doing them all at once is a productive version of multitasking. This is because you’re taking advantage of your existing focus in order to complete similar tasks, one after another. 

    Break large tasks down into smaller tasks

    It can be easy to waste time if you’re feeling overwhelmed. This is why breaking large tasks down into smaller, more manageable tasks is one of the best time management tips for students. Especially if you’re looking for time management skills for studying.

    Say you’re studying for your final exam. That’s a lot of material to cover. So where do you start? Maybe you start by reviewing your teacher’s PowerPoint or going through your textbook chapter by chapter. Or maybe you want to organize your study schedule by reviewing previous exams and focusing on questions you got wrong or concepts you find confusing. 

    The point is, that reviewing wrong answers on an old test is a much more manageable task than simply “studying for the final exam.”

    Know when you’re most productive

    Some people are naturally morning people, while others may feel most productive in the afternoon or at night. Figure out when you are feeling most energized and schedule important assignments during this time. 

    For example, say you’re most productive between 11 am and 3 pm, and feel restless and unfocused from 5 pm to 7 pm. Noon may be a great time to start writing an essay, but 5 pm may be a great time to hang out with friends or go to the gym. 

    If you schedule important tasks during times when you aren’t feeling your most productive, the assignment will end up taking a lot longer to complete. This is a particularly important time management tip for online students. After all, if your days aren’t naturally structured around in-person class times, it can feel overwhelming to create your own schedule and routine. 

    Just remember, if you schedule tasks for times when you are naturally feeling most productive, you’ll end up saving yourself time throughout the course of the day. 

    Know when you’re most productive

    Some people are naturally morning people, while others may feel most productive in the afternoon or at night. Figure out when you are feeling most energized and schedule important assignments during this time. 

    For example, say you’re most productive between 11 am and 3 pm, and feel restless and unfocused from 5 pm to 7 pm. Noon may be a great time to start writing an essay, but 5 pm may be a great time to hang out with friends or go to the gym. 

    If you schedule important tasks during times when you aren’t feeling your most productive, the assignment will end up taking a lot longer to complete. This is a particularly important time management tip for online students. After all, if your days aren’t naturally structured around in-person class times, it can feel overwhelming to create your own schedule and routine. 

    Just remember, if you schedule tasks for times when you are naturally feeling most productive, you’ll end up saving yourself time throughout the course of the day.

    Factor in your mental health and sense of well-being

    The most effective time management strategies for students should prioritize your mental health and overall sense of well-being. After all, you don’t want to get sick or burnt out. Going to school takes a lot of focus. And passion. You don’t want to risk losing sight of your goals or your health. 

    This is why it’s important to schedule breaks. Get involved in extracurricular activities. Spend time with friends and family. Sleep in on the weekends. And plan things throughout the week that you can look forward to. Being a student is a lot of work, but it should also be fun!

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    Being a student requires a much different schedule than a typical 9-5 work schedule. This is partly why knowing how to teach time management to students can be so difficult. After all, students’ schedules are often much more irregular and often have to account for extracurricular activities, college applications, standardized tests, and more. All while keeping your high school up. It’s a lot to keep track of! No wonder Staying Organized While Applying to Multiple Colleges can feel so difficult. 

    Hopefully after reviewing some of our best time management tips for students, you’re feeling a bit more prepared. Remember, the ideal schedule is realistic, tailored to you specifically, and has a bit of flexibility — in case something comes up last minute. If you still have questions about staying organized, check out our article, Tips on Staying Organized in High School

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